How a Insurance Company Rips Off its Customer
Just this past week, we experienced an insurance company doing what insurance companies usually do—“low- balling” their offer on a total loss vehicle.
In this particular instance, we were dealing with one of those insurance companies that suggests you can save money by switching to them. Without naming the insurance company, they, and others, use words such as “ in 15 minutes we can save you hundreds of dollars”, “determine what you want to pay and we will write your policy”, and, where they have “good hands”.
This carrier made an assessment in a number of areas: the condition of the vehicle, comparable vehicles, referring to and asserting the fact that their insured agreed to the method by which his vehicle would be assessed for the total loss.
First, they understated the condition of the vehicle by exaggerating conditions such as “many dings, paint chipping, holes in the headliner” (which is the fabric above your head and passengers head).
Second, what they suggested as comparables were vehicles that had between 20,000 and 45,000 more miles than their insured’s vehicle. They gave him no credit for low mileage which is a factor considered by such authorities as NADA, the National Association of Dealers in America. NADA is a recognized authority on how a vehicle should be valued.
Third, the insurance company took two weeks to reevaluate their appraisal after both my client and I researched additional comparables which we submitted in writing to the insurance company. I had requested that they get back to me in three business days and it took them over 13 days, despite the fact that I had to call them several times to get a response. My belief is that they were dragging their feet in order to frustrate their customer and me. My client had seriously considered filing a complaint with the State of Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration however my client’s concern was that he would have to pay the repair facility and lay out money before the Maryland Insurance Commission would hear the case. Therefore, my client unfortunately accepted the “low ball” offer made to him by his own insurance company.
This behavior of insurance companies, in my view, results in unfair practices, bad faith, and a “ripping off” of their own policyholders as well as of third parties.
I am of the belief that the way insurance companies are able to proclaim that they are saving you money on premiums is by ripping you off when you submit a claim. I believe that their low ball offers enable them to save money despite the harm that occurs in the loss of a reasonable settlement for property damage to their own policyholders.
What we need in Maryland is a consumer revolt by individual actions by policyholders and third parties through the use of filing claims against the abusing insurance companies at the Maryland Insurance Commission. Additionally, a class action suit should be brought against the major underwriters who are engaging in unscrupulous practices such as the use of lowball total loss settlements.
This local Howard County attorney who works in Howard County and in surrounding counties in Central Maryland will seek to obtain the largest recovery possible for your total loss vehicle. If you are personally injured and have a total loss vehicle from an automobile accident, we will not charge to pursue a claim before the Maryland Insurance Commissioner unless we need to go to a Maryland district or circuit court.
Call me, Fred Antenberg, at 410 730-4404 and let’s pursue a better property damage result for your total loss vehicle.